jlangan.wordpress — Dec 24, 2013
On September 12, 2013, Vladimir Putin published an editorial in the New York Times critiquing President Barack Obama’s address to the American people on intervention in Syria. That day in history is significant for many reasons. It is the anniversary of the Battle of Marathon, the Battle of Muret (a decisive defeat of the Albigensians in 1208), and the Battle of Vienna, 1683, in which Jan Sobieski led the charge in raising the Turkish siege of Vienna. While September 12, 2013 will not mark a decisive military victory, we will consider it the end of the Summer in which American Exceptionalism lost its hold on the minds of many good willed people on the planet, many Catholics in general, and American Catholics in particular. And on this day, Vladimir Putin led the charge.
Putin´s editorial also marked the return of Russia as an important leader of the free world. In order to explain how this is so, let us briefly summarize the last forty years of Russian history. As readers of this journal well know, the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and subsequent Afghani rebellion helped to bring about the end of Soviet rule in Russia. By 1989, the Soviet regime was in its final days. In what amounted to a rapid transition to “democracy,” Mikhael Gorbachev handed the country over to Boris Yeltsin, who, in order to maintain his leadership position of the country, kept selling off the country’s goods to a series of oligarchs heavily under the influence of Jewish Plutocrats from around the world.
By the end of Yeltsin’s rule, Russia was on the verge of civil war. What used to be the patrimony of Russia was becoming the financial holdings of potentially warring oligarchs. At several times during his rule, Yeltsin had to use the elements within the army still loyal to Russia in order to save the country from falling into civil war and chaos.
Before he left office, Yeltsin realized the damage he had done to the country. He was allowed to leave without falling into disgrace. In return, he handed the reins of the country over to Putin whose nearly impossible task would be not only to prevent Russia from becoming a failed state, but also to build up its future glory.
Putin had two goals, one short-term and another long-term. His short term goal: to prevent Russia from falling into chaos. He some expelled oligarchs who had essentially become foreign agents. Others, he imprisoned. He did not eliminate, perhaps because he could not, all of the criminal elements within Russia. Figuratively speaking, some of the weeds remained in the regime, as part of the press and within the financial and political system. For example, to this day, the United States offers financial help to former communists and white nationalists as a means of trying to destabilize the regime. In addition, Some of the exiled oligarchs have become the darlings of the Western media.
While stabilizing the country, he also began to map out his long term goal: to create democratic institutions in Russia. He sensed that it would take at least a generation to create the political institutions and habits that foster true democracy in a country such as his own. In this, his thought mirrored that of Alexis de Tocqueville, who warned the Europeans that it would be foolish to simply implement democracy without forming people who had the habits of self government. Dostoevsky and Alexander Solznytisn held the similar ideas.
As Putin set out to alter Russian institutions, he also realized he had some more fundamental problems to address, stabilizing the Russian family. Putin realized that the family is the best long term guarantee for political order. But, Russia was also in the middle of a demographic free fall. He realized that if Russia were to over time have an influence in world affairs, that she needed a population. In short, a population is the one of the essential requirements of the common good.
In addition to the family, Putin, secretly baptized many years before by his mother, also wanted to restore the glory of the Russian Orthodox Church. He realized that the health of the Church was a necessary element of the common good. As a concrete action showing the importance of this reality, his regime has helped restore over 25,000 Churches.
Turning from domestic affairs to foreign affairs, Putin also sensed that it would be good for the world if more nations existed that could persuade the United States to act more in accord with the principles of justice. Russia, he thought, given its history, could be one of those nations.
Courtesy Israel Shamir